Saying Hello

My marriage ended a lot of relationships in my life.

Males, females, old friends, new friends.

I gave them up. I let them walk away

All my attention and focus was so predominantly focused on Tom, that I had no energy left for anyone. My marriage. Then my kids. In that order.

I know that this seems awful. It seems wrong. But you have to understand. I was trying to save myself

Without me, who would they have?

I let a lot of people down. And I am so sorry about that. I had a lot of great people in my life, who deserved a lot better than I had to give them.

I didn’t have a lot to give

Three of my closest friends moved away.

One, she moved back.

She ignores me if she sees me in the store. I really was a terrible friend.

The other one,we comment on Facebook sometimes.

She’s come back to Alaska once or twice, maybe she doesn’t believe I have changed?

The last one, my Grey’s Anatomy binge watching darling

We are working on it. We talk, a lot. We confide. We have heart to heart’s. I think we will be okay.

And if I only get one of those three close friends back. I’m okay with that.

There were so many others though. The path behind me, it is littered with the decay of past relatioships. Friends gone by

I had coffee today with someone who Tom and her husband had some sort of falling out

She knew about Michael in the beginning. I confided in them, I still confide in her

They are both blessings.

The friends I still have. I am grateful for. Without them, I woildnt have the strength. I wouldn’t have the support.

For the friends that were lost. For the friends that weren’t allowed. The friends that supported me in their own ways, while I was to blind to truly see it.

You have my deepest apologies. There was more

More you didn’t see. More I didn’t say. There is still so much more. As my story comes out, as I lay it all out there. I hope you are able to see me, and accept my apology.

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Saying Goodbye

With how Michael called. With how he told Tom all. I never got to say goodbye.

I never got to explain, or tell him why. Explain to him my reasoning’s for all that I did.
Naturally, as a woman, I couldn’t let that be. I couldn’t let that go.

I reached out to him a couple years later, emailed him. I apologized. I didn’t say why. I didn’t justify or rationalize. I just apologized. I needed to apologize.

I felt better about myself. From that apology. I couldn’t make the lies right, but hopefully he knew the sincerity in my email. Knew that I truly meant that apology.

…but as a woman. I needed to know why. Why did he call. Why couldn’t he just walk away.
I couldn’t let it be over like that.

He didn’t know the hell that my life was or became. It wasn’t his fault. I wanted to hate him for it. That call. But how could I hate him for cleansing himself. For getting that guilt off of him.

I sent another email. The response. It answered the question.
“I told him because I thought it would be something I would want, if I was in his shoes. That’s as simple as it was.”

He added in a final question. He asked if that was really why I reached out, after the time that had gone by.
For once, I could say yes. That was it.
No strings attached, no holding on to see what could happen.
No dragging it out, trying to make him see me.
I need nothing from him. I can honestly say Goodbye.
I can shut the door on that chapter, and smile.
It didn’t end the way I saw, in fact, the next chapters, they suck. But. That one element. The first affair. (Yes, I said first.)
The first person I hurt.
Not the first person to hurt me.
I closed the book on it.
and it is wonderful.

Payback

I had a friend. A really good friend.

After the affair I quit college. I worked full time with Tom. I stood by him, even on days when it was really hard to put the pieces together to stand. I stood. I took the verbal beatings in the quiet of the back room of our store. I took them on the way to work, I took them on the way home. I took them in front of my kids.

The words I used to dread were…let’s go to our room to talk. That meant it was gonna be a long talk. One that cracked me, took me down to nothing. Made me feel like nothing. There was no escaping it. We did everything together. On the whim of him remembering what I did, he would lash out. It was usually unpredictable. Usually I didn’t see it coming, or know what could or would trigger it. There was no time to have a reprieve from it.

I was on lockdown. Unless I had someone with me, I went nowhere. Not to the grocery store, not to the gas station. Not to the doctor. Someone knew where I was at all times, and someone was watching me at all times.

He brought people into my life, people to watch me. One of them, Shay, she became a friend. I confessed all. Told her why. Told her the truth. I had someone I trusted and could just, talk to.

She stayed over. She watched my kids. She became a protector of sorts. Because when she was there, he was nice. I took it.

He took her. He slept with her as revenge, in my house. On my couch. In my room. Everywhere, anywhere. He made sure we were close, that we were friends. So it cut deeper.

I offered to leave. He told me to stay.

I stayed.

It got worse.

The Mistake

When you look back at your relationship. After it has ended. When you are trying to piece your life back together.

You see where everything went wrong. You see the turning points. The catastrophic events.

It should have ended there. With Michael. I should have walked away. No. I should have ran away. Taken my kids and started over.

Should have. But didn’t

I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. I wasn’t ready to give up on that white picket fence life that I was dying for.

I stayed. I begged. I pleaded. For forgiveness. To start over. To begin again.

I kind of got what I asked for. At least. I got what I felt I deserved.

He never hit me. Tom could cut with words better than he ever could with a fist. He could break you down, strip you to the bone. Then. He could build you back up.

He held me as I cried from the things he said. As I apologized to him for what I did that caused him to treat me that way. I wouldn’t sleep at night. Afraid that he would wake up angry, and need me. Need me to listen. Need me to apolpgize. Need me to give myself to him. Over and over again.

In order for him to feel like we were reconnecting, I had to ‘connect’ with him. If I opposed, said no, hinted at reluctance, I was shamed. I was told since I put out for everyone else. Why not him. I was guilted into it. If I really loved him, why didn’t I show him? What’s funny, is that relationship lasted after I left him.

He was still able to control me. Telling me I couldn’t have my kids unless I spent some ‘private time’ with him. What’s more sad and pathetic than him using these tactics. Was me falling for these tactics. I was so afraid. Afraid of the control I couldn’t take back. Afraid of how he could hurt me. Afraid of what he could tell people about me.

Afraid of what he would tell my kids about me.

The Lie

The first affair.

It was air after being suffocated. It was freedom.

Let’s call him Michael. I lied to him. Told him I wasn’t married. Well, I guess that wasn’t a lie. I told him we weren’t together at all. That was a lie.

Him and I went to college together. We studied together everyday. I went to his house. We went to lunch together. We got coffee together. We had sex. He was mine. I wasn’t his.

The lies. They ate at my soul. I thought that I fell in love with him. I lost weight. I exercised like a maniac. I found ways to release the guilt. My soul suffered. My body, it looked great.

The few people who knew, some supported. Some didn’t. One told him everything.

He was amazing. His smile lit my life, his laugh was infectious. He never talked nasty to me. He never called me names. He celebrated my achievements with me. He helped me study when I faltered in school. He was honest, believed in doing right. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.

But that wasn’t him. That wasn’t who he was. It was mirage that I put in place of a real person, because I was desperately searching. I wasn’t in love with him. I liked how he made me feel. How free I felt when I was with him. The person I thought of him as in my head, it wasn’t who the real person was. The real person, he was just human. Not the demi-god I turned him into.

In the end. He called Tom. He told him everything. Because, the reality of it was that he was better than what I was making him. A secret.

Tom didn’t take it overly well. I told him I would leave. He told me to stay.

This was the beginning of us trying to fix our relationship. To put the pieces back together.

The Trap

Being a young woman at 18, you are very pliable to become what you think is needed or wanted of you. Not all young woman, but when you come from detached roots and broken pieces of history, well, you strive to please. Let’s face it, I became attached and was petrified. Anyone I had become attached to prior had left me, who is to say that he wouldn’t too? So I became putty, I molded to what was expected of me.

He worked away from home, two weeks at a time, in the beginning. As you can gather I had issues with being alone, mentally, I felt abandoned. I’m not naïve and I know this wasn’t the case but to an 18 year old girl, 4 hours away from anyone I knew, I became depressed when he was gone and smothered him when he was home. I wanted to be the center of his world, because he was the center of mine. The few friends that I did slowly become close to from work, I pushed away half the time. I couldn’t give up precious time with him for anyone else. So it began, I willingly gave the pieces of me for him. I thought we were melding into one, but I was pushing him away. With every bit of nagging, whining, annoying text, he was drifting away from me. Until our one year anniversary, when we were pregnant. I know, it sounds as if this is something that would be planned by the woman. Trust me, it wasn’t. But damn if he didn’t jump in head first. He became everything I wanted, needed, could ever imagine. Then the expectations hit, the harsh words along with the controlling nature. As my pregnancy progressed, the more involved he became with my life. Any male I had ever associated with was cut out, along with accusations being made. I quit my job at a hardware store and took a more suitable position in a daycare, where contact with any men was limited. As a mother to be, I was expected to act with a certain way, expected to behave a certain way. And I was totally and completely okay with this in the beginning. After our first child was born, he proposed. We planned a wedding and it was beautiful. We conceived our second child. Never did we sign our marriage certificate; he said we would get around to it after our second daughter was born. I accepted it, he was right. A name wasn’t important. Right? But I had learned in the years that we had been together it is easier to accept what he thinks and says rather than to opinionate how I feel about it. No this isn’t oh woe is me, I am the victim type of thinking. This is just the truth. That is how I felt, and I had it all. I was okay with it.

His business that he had started when I was pregnant with daughter number one was taking off, and we were putting a lot of time into that. After daughter two was born I brought up the topic of actual marriage again, only to be shot down. Once again, I bit my tongue. Of course taking his last name was important to me! I mean, seriously. Come on! I had two children with this man, and my name didn’t match theirs. It drove me crazy! We might act like a married couple but each time I took my girls to the doctor, or I signed them in for daycare I was reminded that no, we were not actually married. It may be just a piece of paper, and a word but it was a word with a hell of a lot of meaning. That paper was like the air I was desperately looking for.

I could take the lack of opinion, I could take the controlling erratic behavior. I could handle the fact that I got screamed at for missing a phone call, cussed at in voicemails. I could take all of that. I broke when he went to Vegas. I broke when we were talking and somehow the marriage certificate got brought up. His exact words were “I don’t want to be that attached to you.” I snapped. I lost all pride, a lot of respect. My heart broke. I lost all faith in us and in myself. What was so wrong with me that he didn’t want to be attached to me, didn’t want to share his last name, give me the same name as my children. I couldn’t take the name calling, the lack of trust towards me, the controlling behavior. I couldn’t do all that and know there was no hope of getting his name, no hope of ever really being a married woman.

So when people asked if I was married, I said no. Wasn’t that what he wanted? To not be married to me?

The Beginning…

Admitting you are lost is a feat in itself. At what point does anyone have enough confidence in themselves to look in the mirror and say “where the fuck am I? And what the hell am I doing here?”

We all have our reasons for thinking it, but what did it take to get there?

Was it that time when all you wanted to do was take a bath, but the kids were up and couldn’t sleep, all you needed was a little help but there wasn’t anyone there to help you? Could it have been that time when you just needed milk and bread from the grocery store, but you have to load all your kids into the car to run and grab it, of course when none were dressed and were all dirty and unkempt. You probably would have paid the homeless guy from down the street to watch them if you could have found him, but like your husband, he was also MIA.

As wives, and moms we get lost. My breaking point was 5 years into a relationship, where my husband was more involved with his business than he was with me. We had two little girls, he worked 80+ hours a week, I was taking as many college credits as I could manage to try and get my degree done. I was a single mom, who was a full time student that went to bed alone, woke up alone and did it all by myself. But yet I was expected to be there emotionally, physically when he needed me. I was expected to be the rock that held him up when expected, when I was cracking and crumbling without notice.

Let’s take it back to the beginning, before the kids, before the business, before the beginning of the end.

I was seventeen when I met my husband. Young, with more than just daddy issues. I jumped into bed with anyone, looking for someone. I never knew what I was looking for, just someone to love me, and fill the voids that had been left by a dad that didn’t want me, a step dad that was never around and friend’s uncles that loved to be around a little more than they should have been.

My first serious boyfriend, well I was sure I was going to marry him. So what if I was fifteen, he was the one. We met at youth group, and both became avid church goers. Sundays, Wednesdays and Friday night youth group, we were inseparable. It only took three months for him to get me into the cleaning closest alone, and it only took 10 minutes for him to rape and leave me. After that I had a long string of boyfriends, most of who said they loved me but needed not to in order to sleep with me.

My mom left when I was sixteen, leaving me homeless for a point of time, putting me in a position where I had to live with my boyfriend of the moment. He was 18, and came from a broken home with an alcoholic mom and an abusive dad. He was sinking like me, trying to grasp for air after a car accident where he had killed his best friend. I became his lifesaver, the person who kept him afloat. Unfortunately, you can’t be a lifesaver when you are sinking yourself. It was toxic, to say the least. I left him after some time, right before by seventeenth birthday, and went to live with my step dad who was dependent on drugs to get through the day. I sank into a routine of school and kept my boyfriends on rotation up until the point where I met my husband.

Now, I’m not looking for sympathy here, if you are going to tell a story you have to tell the whole story. All the pieces that put it together.

When I met him it ended my long list of suitors, he was all I needed. He became the air that I breathed, the answer to everything. He filled my voids, emotionally and physically. He was it. Four months into our relationship, right after my 18 birthday, I moved the three hundred miles to live with him.